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Dev Diary - August 2018

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Hello community!

The moment you’ve all been waiting for:

EPISODE THREE IS COMING!!!

After a long period of you waiting for news about the next installment in the story of The Long Dark, I’m excited to share the news that Episode Three will release December 2018, along with the “Redux” editions of Episodes One and Two, unveiling a whole new experience of WINTERMUTE, The Long Dark’s story mode.

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We’ll be teasing out more Episode Three details in the months ahead, but as a reminder: in Episode Three, you’ll play as Dr. Astrid Greenwood, and the story picks up in the aftermath of the events of Milton, as experienced from Mackenzie’s point of view in Episode One. You’ll meet new survivors, explore a new region, and find out more about the events prior to, and after, the First Flare event that engulfed Great Bear Island -- and perhaps the rest of the world -- into “the long dark”.

EPISODES ONE & TWO “REDUX”

Along with Episode Three, we’ll be releasing the “Redux” editions of Episodes One and Two, which we’ve spent the last year reworking in order to set up a stronger foundation for Episode Three and the remaining parts of the five-episode WINTERMUTE story mode. I talked a bit about the reasoning behind the Redux work in our February Dev Diary. Some of the work that’s gone into the Redux episodes includes:

  • More open and flexible mission structure, reducing the forced linearity of the story missions; this includes restructuring the side missions and making more of the content optional
  • Whole new playable intro sequence for Episode One
  • All NPC dialogue is now fully voiced and animated using an entirely new animation system
  • All dialogue and narrative scenes are now presented in first-person, using an overhauled dialogue UI
  • New major story elements in both Episodes, including a new NPC
  • Although the high-level episode story arcs remain as before, almost every story beat, dialogue moment, and mission element has been improved, with about 80% of the dialogue rewritten to accommodate
  • Removed the Trust system as it contributed to the “fetch questy” feeling of the first two episodes (we plan to repurpose this system for elsewhere in the game)
  • Completely overhauled Bear Hunt mission and added new gameplay (Episode Two)
  • Improved tutorial presentation
  • Improved story UI elements
  • ...and many other fixes and improvements.

The improvements made in the Redux versions are pretty extensive, and most of them were made based on community feedback, so we hope you’ll go back and replay them before continuing on to Episode Three.

Please note that because so much has changed, in-progress playthroughs of Episode One or Two will be wiped when the Redux versions are released in December. Players who have already completed the original versions of Episodes One and Two and who wish to just continue directly to Episode Three will not be affected by the save wipe. So, if you are in the midst of a WINTERMUTE playthrough and don’t want to lose your progress, you have until December to complete it.

So, to recap: Episode Three, along with the “Redux” versions of Episodes One and Two, will all be releasing together in December!

RETAIL PRE-ORDER!!!

In other news, we’re extremely proud to share an update on our collaboration with Skybound Games! If you recall, we partnered with Skybound Games up to bring The Long Dark to retailers, and we’re excited to announce some details of the retail boxed editions for Xbox and PS4. Those retail editions will be released in stores worldwide, on September 4th (in North, Central, and South America) and September 7th (in Europe, Middle East, Asia, and Australia).

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Each retail copy of the game includes a downloadable soundtrack, and a printed Field Journal that includes a map of Great Bear and plenty of room to keep a running survival diary during your playthroughs!

Jump on over to the Skybound Games pre-order site for more details about pre-order incentives available in your territory, and make sure you spread the word amongst your fellow fans of The Long Dark, or anyone you think might be interested in testing their mettle in the Quiet Apocalypse.

Between now and December, most of our efforts and communication will be around Episode Three, but even though we may not say much about Survival Mode, we’re not abandoning it -- far from it. We just need to hunker down and focus on Episode Three, to ensure it comes out as strong as it can. That said, we are planning to release a hotfix to Vigilant Flame later this month, to clean up some issues with the updated Cooking system.

Thanks for reading, and as always, to stay abreast of the ongoing updates at Hinterland, please sign up for our newsletter, follow us on social media, and join our excellent community at the Hinterland Forums.

- Raphael

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Good Dev Diary.

The image... the story of the Orca Mom who lost her calf this past week, in your area... really hits home.  Really hits.

Looking forward to the Redux Episodes, and the new Episode, just in time for the Winter holidays here.  Thank you.  :)

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Posted (edited)

This is a great news! The best news for me lately. :)

Edited by TwinCats

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I don't care about my past progress. I'm replaying Episodes One and Two for sure after this modifications

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Excellent! Really glad to hear that this is moving forward. Question ('cause you know there's got to be questions... ;) ) are we going to get to see the NPC presence animations that you teased us with a season or so back? Have you made much progress on player presence, such as showing what the player is wearing when doing things like harvesting game or using a bow?

I'm really looking forward to this. I'd hoped it'd come faster, but I also know that this stuff is not easy. All the best to you folks!

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I wish you guys at Hinterland success. You deserve it.

It is the best game I have ever played. I thought that Skyrim and Black Flag were great but TLD beats them. 

That it is game without zombies, dragons and giant mechanical monsters gives it reality.  When I am playing I get so carried away, it is real.  My heart misses a beat when I unexpectedly see a bear or wolf.  I start to panic when I am out in a blizzard, short of food & warmth and don't know where to find shelter.

I hope that you can expand into a new customer area of mature people who abhor the zombie stuff and have spent years dismissing computer games as entertainment for wayward school-kids.

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SO excited for all this, particularly the re-working of Episodes 1 and 2. What you have detailed is sure to bring those episodes up to the level of engagement that we have experienced in Survival Mode. Thank you so much for all the hard work you've put in for us fans.

Do you know how large the map in the retail game will be? It might be worth purchasing for me just for that. I have long wanted a giant hi-res map of the whole game - not necessarily with waypoints, just a fantastic map like the Great Bear one that I've seen with all the regions. If that's not what would be in the retail game, I'm wondering if there would be any chance of a nice poster-sized fancy map making its way to your online store?

Thanks again!

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So we are technically getting trhee new episodes because of the "redux"

 

Can't wait!

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This is great news for the game and the future of the story mode. It’s also nice to hear about the digital audio download of the soundtrack included with physical copies. Any further notice on a digital release of the soundtrack?

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2 minutes ago, Mixxut said:

So we are technically getting trhee new episodes because of the "redux"

 

Can't wait!

Should be called a tridux

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Very exciting! After the physical copies are released to the wild will it be possible to buy the game map is the gear store?! That would be so cool! Or did I miss a pc release with such goodies?

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22 minutes ago, Jolan said:

Very exciting! After the physical copies are released to the wild will it be possible to buy the game map is the gear store?! That would be so cool! Or did I miss a pc release with such goodies?

You haven't missed a physical PC release. We don't have anything to announce about the packed in features coming to the Hinterland Store.

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Wonderful news!   Thanks for the hard work you've put into the story.  The changes you've listed are really exciting.  I'll definitely play it again from the beginning.

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Are you still going to make the one part in Episode two optional? (trying not to spoil anything for those who don't know)

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Sounds good. Too sad that there is no physical release for PC and the soundtrack is still just digital. But hey, progress! And the concept art is getting me. I think i will replay both episodes. And a friend of mine will be happy to hear about the wipe. He lost 20% of his life energy due to frostburn or how was it called in english? :D

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Seriously looking forward to this new chapter, as well as seeing how the old ones change.  I'm curious as to this new NPC in the redux as well.  I wonder if it's the mysterious Forest Talker you briefly chat with through the locked cabin door, possibly playing a grander role in the redux.  It would be interesting to see who we're talking to.

Also I'm glad the trust system is being removed.  I didn't mind the "fetch questy" nature of it, since I always had plenty of hides to hand over, but it did feel a little...shallow to me.  Literally buying someone's trust.  It even told you how many Trust Dollars each item was worth.  I'm hoping the revised version has characters reacting to your decisions, such as whether or not to break into the gas station.

Very curious to see how this system is repurposed later in the game.  (My hunch is some sort of barter system.)

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Great news, also about the Vigilant Flame hotfix. I'm quite intrigued to see what you can do with the new story system. While I wasn't the biggest fan of Ep 1&2, I could clearly see the potential in this mode, and I think you are taking the right directions here to bring it up to the overall standard of the game. (Immersion, folks, immersion! :D)

I also want to (again) commend you people at Hinterland for the guts and bravery to turn back on something already done and working sorta kinda good enough to do it right. Same as with the cooking system, I can imagine redoing Ep 1&2 must have been a hard decision not taken easily. But it was certainly the right one.

 

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Must admit I don't really understand the logic of putting out the retail version, and then 3 months later overhauling the whole game and deleting everyone's saves. Its not going to affect me, but I think if I saw the boxed game in a shop and bought it without any prior knowledge except what I read on the box itself, and then the redux happened within weeks, I might be just a little bit annoyed. Or puzzled, at least.

But OK!

The new version of Wintermute does look like a huge improvement on the abortive 2017-release version, though, and it's nice to now have an idea of when it'll be out. And thanks for being upfront about there not being another major update for Survivor Mode until 2019 - it's good to know this as well.

Looking forward to hearing more details in the coming weeks and months!

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